Jim Dunlop ZW38 Mxr Black Label Chorus Pedal

Jim Dunlop ZW38 Mxr Black Label Chorus Pedal
The Dunlop ZW38 Chorus

While inspired by a metal player, this Pedal provides an all-around affordable Chorus effect

I don’t particuarly listen to zakk wylde or know much about him (other than the obvious), but this pedal which bears his moniker / band name, is pretty good.
What I like right away is the high and low filter cut controls. It still amazes me that this is not standard on Chorus guitar pedals (why?). The dual outputs for stero spread is a no-brainer and good. It is built with analog bucket brigade technology, which was a technique developed in the late ’60’s that is quite popular amongst tone-snobs. The Level / Rate / Depth controls require no explanation and provide plenty of control for your effects-shaping needs. Like all MXR / Dunlop guitar effects pedals, this one is built like a brick “you know what” house. If you are looking for a sturdy, tweakable guitar chorus pedal that is under $100, check this one out.

Product Page:

http://www.jimdunlop.com/product/zw38-black-label-chorus

Fulltone 69, the Fuzz that roared

Fulltone 69 fuzz
Fulltone 69 fuzz

If you are in the market for a truly amazing, world-class Fuzz pedal, look no further, the Fulltone ’69 is your baby

Of all the Fuzz pedals I have tried, the Fulltone ’69 is really the king. An incredibly transparent pedal with a top-shelf fuzz that can be easily rolled-back for great tonal variations.

Contour is key

The knob labeled “Contour” is where the real fun starts. It is kind of a combination mid-range / thickness control. Needless to say, when turned down, the fuzz is a bit thinner as is the overall tone. This is helpful if you want Fuzz without all the “Woof” When you increase the Contour level, the Fuzz get’s thicker and has more body. This also adds to the random harmonics and general squeaks that are likely to come out of your guitar. If you experiment by using less drive and more Contour (or vice verse) there are some seriously fun sounds to be found.

Transparent

Like most of Mike Fuller’s pedals, the ’69 is totally transparent. It just adds amazingly complex Fuzz to whatever you put into the pedal. On the other end of the pipe is your original tone, just with lots and lots of cream dripping from it. When the pedal is disengaged, the “True Bypass” claim is bolstered by an un-fettered and decidedly pure tone.

Could be used as an overdrive

What I love about this pedal is that in nearly every possible tonal variation, you can simply roll back your guitar’s volume and you get a great overdrive sound. Every time I fire this pedal up, I am reminded of how incredibly sensitive it is to dynamics. This Fuzz is never “Out of control”, and doubles as a fun overdrive.

Not made any more

As of this article’s publication date, Mike Fuller is still not making these pedals any more. The reason is that he uses only hand-picked Germanium transistors and no one is making them to his satisfaction any more. Keep an eye on his website though, he states than when he can get his hands on another batch of transistors, he’ll make some more ’69 pedals.

Summary

There are many many great Fuzz pedals out there. I’m sure there are a few  I still have not tried yet, and are worthy of such a review. When I find ‘m, I’ll surely write about ’em. In the meantime, if you need a great Fuzz, but the ’69 from Fulltone. Ask questions later.

Fulltone Website

Fulltone Product Page

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Fulltone Clyde Deluxe Wah Guitar Pedal

Fulltone Clyde Deluxe Wah Guitar Pedal
Fulltone Clyde Deluxe

There are wah pedals, and then there are great wah pedals. Sure, you can save up and buy one of the vintage classics, but you will need to save a lot and when you drop it (or spill bong water on it, or your pup poops on it, etc…) you will cry. Or… you could save yourself the drama and run out to buy the Fulltone Clyde Deluxe Wah.

Lemmie tell  ya man, this is one damm great wah. I know that was not the most eloquent sentence but it just ain’t that deep, the Clyde deluxe kicks major hiney. What I love love love about this wah so much is the 10-step variable input level control. With this little baby you can really get the signal level just where you want it. This is the kind of thing that always drove me nuts with older wah pedals; too hot, too cold,ugghhh… but with the Clyde Deluxe way, the porridge is just right. Next up in line for the the “Coolest Control” prize is the 3-way mode switch. There are three settings. “Shaft” is the most classic wah tone and when you engage it, Richard Roundtree personally jumps out of no where and yells “hands up sucka!…” (this will startle you at first, but it really adds a three dimensional aspect to your sound). “Jimi” is the setting inspired by a really famous guitar player from the sixties… can’t remember his last name, but he played at some really big concert where it rained, and he is involved with Voodoo or some kind of purplish haze, and he was apparently the greatest rock guitarist of all time….. or something like that. The “Whacked” setting is…. totally whacked… really nuts and fun.

The overall construction of this pedal is as if you are going to war; Solid has hell. This wah cannot be broken. True bypass ensures that your signal is 999999.9999% pure at all times and the indicator light will always let you know what is going on. I can’t recommend this way enough. It’s got a deep throaty growl that is tops. if you are looking for a great way pedal that offers some flexibility and superb construction, grab the Fulltone Clyde Delux… now about that “Jimi” guy from the sixties….. what was his last name? : – )

The MXR Phase 100 M-107 Guitar Pedal

The MXR Phase 100 M-107 Guitar Pedal
The MXR Phase 100

There is a good reason why the MXR Phase 100 is still around!

Maybe you have an MXR Phase 90, maybe you are thinking of buying one, or maybe you are considering an upgrade. Either way the MXR Phase 100 M-107 is a great alternative to the Phase 90 if you want a bit more control to the overall shape of the wet signal. As the older cousin of the MXR Phase 90, the Phase 100 offers the same great tone but a few more features. The biggest difference is the notch control that lets you select the wave pattern. In conjunction with the speed control, you can dial in the exact phase sound that you want.  There are four wave pattern selections and of course the speed control is completely variable. The MXR Phase 100 takes up considerably more real-estate on your pedal board, but that is the price of being able to have a more fine-tuned control over the effect. The biggest difference between this re-issue and the original is that you can use the Dunlop ECB003 AC Power Supply instead of a 9-volt battery.

At the end of the day, you’ve got that same classic plush, swishy phase swoop that can be heard on many classic rock albums such as Van Halen I  (“I’m the one” & “Eruption”) and Some Girls by the Rolling Stones (“Beast of Burden”).The key to these great tones is that each guitarist knows just how much to use and when to use it.  When used poorly, you get that obvious cyclical pattern that cries out:  “Hi, I’m a phase shifter pedal, and the person using me didn’t take the time to get a good mix, he just turned it on and started playing…” Yuk! When implanted nicely in your signal path, the MXR Phase 100 can push your tone in just the right way so that it is enveloped in a molasses that the listener will not be able to detect, but they know somehow that you just sound great.  This pedal is a lot of fun to play with: putting the MXR Phase 100 before or after key effects such as delay an yield some pretty other-worldly sounds. However you choose to do it, the Phase 100 is a great phase shifter guitar pedal that does not require a degree in quantum mechanics to operate. Wave pattern, speed, indication light, selector switch, that’s it. No fuss, no muss, just great phase.

MXR PHASE 100 M107  Demo

MXR M78 Custom Badass ’78 Distortion

MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion
MXR M78 Custom Badass ‘7

MXR’s new ’78 Bad Ass is a dammed good distortion pedal that offers true bypass and a warm sound, at a very reasonable price.

OK, this thing is pretty good. The kicker is that it retails for under $100. At that price range, true bypass and warm analog distortion is definitely a feature set that should impress anyone. Of course this is all very subjective. You have to factor in your setup, taste, and playing style. That said, all things considered, it’s a strong pedal.  I’m not too sure what the ’78 stands for. I guess I don’t really care, but I am curious.

The feature set is pretty standard stuff: Drive, Tone, Level. Done. There is a “Crunch” button that pretty much just gives you a noticeable amount of increased drive. There is good interplay between drive and level. You can get a kind of “plexi” drive with the level way up and the drive down a bit. This setting offers more headroom and clarity, yet less of the juice. For a more saturated sound, do the opposite: more drive and less level.

Anyone who knows anything is aware that with the exception of those early ’80s plastic jobbies, MXR pedals are built like howitzers; stomp on ’em all you want, they hold up just fine. This company can certainly sit back on its heels and coast a bit as they are one of the bigger names and have a solid reputation. But, they are smart, they keep up with the times and have just released a new distortion pedal that for its price range, is pretty dammed solid.

Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer – Still Going Strong After 30 Years

Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer
Ibanez Tube Screamer

Starting with the TS-808, these little green monsters known as “tube screamers” have been gracing the pedal boards of guitarists for more than 30 years. Over the years, the shade of green and look have the pedal has morphed a bit, but the popularity has never waned.

I remember these pedals being quite popular back in the late ’70s, but I think most would agree that it was Stevie Ray Vaughan who played a pretty big role in the TS9’s surge in popularity. Eric Johnson was also a fan and known to use one to a large degree. What’s amazing is that over all these years, and through all the re-issues, the overall design has never really changed. This is most likely due to the fact that Ibanez had no reason to fix what was not broken. Many guitarists love the Tube Screamer, and many have loved it just the way it is.

That said, there have been some popular mods. The most well known mod is the Keeley Modded Tube Screamer.  Highlights of this mod are enhanced bass and additional drive. There have been some dark days though. In the mid 80’s, there was the “Master” or “L” series, known for cheap plastic construction, sub- standard POTS and substantial changes to the design. Some recent highlights are the TS-808 reissue, which satisfied the yearning from those who missed the originals, and the TS9DX Turbo, which offered substantially more drive and four “Modes”.

In the end, this pedal has stood the test of time because for most, it sounds great. It may not be some people’s cup of tea, but many guitarists found the tone they were looking for in this pedal.

Ibanez Tube Screamer Links

Ibanez Product Page

Wikipedia

Analog Man – Ibanez Tube Screamers History

What Are the Most Popular Guitar Chorus Pedals?

What Are the Most Popular Guitar Chorus Pedals?
Best Guitar Chorus Pedals

Looking for that lush 3-D sound of a Chorus Pedal? Here are the best high-end, mid-priced and budget models.

One of the most popular guitar effects of all time, chorus is often used to fatten-up the sound and give it more of a “3-D” feel. Some of the most popular guitar tones of all time have involved smart use of Chorus (reference just about any song by the Police, Andy Summers really knew how to use Chorus wisely). Even in the budget arena, thick and creamy sounds can be generated when using a chorus pedal in true stereo.  Below is a list of the most popular guitar chorus effects pedals separated by price range.

High-End / Boutique Chorus Pedals

TC Electronic Stereo Chorus/Flanger Pedal

A high-end / boutique chorus pedal with that also doubles as a flange or pitch modulator.

Best / Coolest Feature: A gain control that will have a big affect on the overall voice of the affected sound. There is also a built in power supply for AC operation (very very cool).

Product Page

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T-Rex The Twister Chorus/Flanger Guitar Effects Pedal

Excellent sounding chorus and flange in one pedal. Good control set and decent features.

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Maxon CS-9 Stereo Chorus Pro Pedal

Based on the Panasonic MN3207, does a pretty good leslie imitation.

Best / Coolest Feature: True bypass, also sounds great with bass.

Product Page

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Red Witch Empress Chorus Vibrato Pedal

True bypass switching, chorus or vibrato and a great control set.

Best / Coolest Feature: Internal trimmer lets you adjust the gain stage. The “voice” control affects the delay time and allows you to get an almost limitless array of chorus types.

Product Page

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Fulltone MDV2 Mini-Deja Vibe2 Chorus/Vibrato Peda

Fulltone makes extremely cool and high-quality pedals. The MDV2 offers chorus and vibrato. This is one where you can buy first and ask questions later.

Best / Coolest Feature: Vintage or modern voicing, control the chorus / vibrato speed with your foot.

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Maxon Vintage Series CS550 Stereo Chorus Pedal

Uses Panasonic MN3207 IC chip, vintage chorus vibe.

Best / Coolest Feature: Hand made.

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Mid-Priced Chorus Pedals

EBS UniChorus Chorus Pedal

Chorus, flange and pitch modulation in one pedal. True bypass circuitry.

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BBE Mind Bender Analog Vibrato and Chorus Pedal

Dual-mode analog Vibrato/Chorus. Patterned after the Boss VB-2 Vibrato™ (Pitch Vibrato) and the Blue Hippo from Way Huge Electronics (Analog Chorus).

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DigiTech HardWire CR-7 Stereo Chorus Pedal

Seven chorus types for a nice range of different voices. Voltage remains constant, regardless of batter life for consistence performance.

Best / Coolest Feature: Stereo input and output. Very cool.

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MXR M134 Stereo Chorus Pedal

An upgraded version of a cherished classic.

Best / Coolest Feature: Bass and treble controls allow you to really dial-in the wet signal or use the bass filter switch to limit the affected signal to the high end only.

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Visual Sound Liquid Chorus Guitar Effects Pedal

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Dunlop Uni-Vibe UV1SC Stereo Chorus Pedal

Chorus or vibrato in one pedal.

Best / Coolest Feature: Switch between chorus an vibrato mode with a second foot switch.

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Electro Harmonix Stereo Electric Mistress Flanger Chorus Pedal

Best / Coolest Feature: Filter Matrix mode allows you to Manually flange or freeze your sound.

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Ibanez CS9 Stereo Chorus Pedal

Another classic pedal reissued. For many, this was their first chorus pedal. It generally sounds great.

Best / Coolest Feature: Text…

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Line 6 ToneCore Space Chorus Stompbox Pedal

A deceptively complex and feature rich chorus pedal.

Best / Coolest Feature: Stereo input, three modes and tap tempo.

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DigiTech CF7 Chorus Factory Pedal

Digital modeling of 7 classic chorus pedals.

Best / Coolest Feature: Cabinet modeling for direct output to a mixer.

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Boss CE-5 Stereo Chorus Ensemble Pedal

Total work horse, good sound, high / low pass filters

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Guyatone MC- Micro Chorus Effects Pedal

Best / Coolest Feature: Super tiny, small footprint.

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ModTone MT-CH Aqua Chorus Pedal

True bypss, good sounding chorus.

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Electro-Harmonix Small Clone Chorus Pedal

One of the real classics. Limited control set, but a pretty rich sound.

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DigiTech Multi-Chorus X-Series Digital Multi-Voice Chorus Pedal

Best / Coolest Feature: 16 voice effects, cabinet emulation.

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Ibanez CF7 Tone Lok Chorus Flanger Pedal

Chorus and flange in one pedal.

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Budget / Inexpensive / Cheap Chorus Pedals

Behringer UC200 Ultimate Stereo Chorus Effects Pedal

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Dan Electro Danelectro Milkshake Chorus Mini Effects Pedal

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Starcaster by Fender – Chorus Pedal

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Rocktek Electric Guitar Chorus Effect Pedal

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